We all worry, it’s impossible not to. With school, our jobs, bills, health, and relationships, there’s almost always something to fret about.
There are many methods that help alleviate worrying that have proven to be effective, from confiding in a friend or meditating. But here’s a technique that you’d never expect to help you cope with your worries — worrying.
We’re not kidding. We do mean worrying.
Also known as Stimulus Control of Worry, this method is supported by a study by the Department of Psychology in Penn State University in the USA, where subjects with anxiety who scheduled a certain amount of time (optimally 30 minutes) to worrying, were less likely to fret throughout the day compared to those who received the usual treatment for their worrying.
We’re not saying that you should spend half an hour every single day tearing yourself up about all the things you have to take care of. For Stimulus Control of Worry to work, there are four steps to follow.
Be mindful of when you worry.
Set aside a specific time and place to think about your worries.
When you find yourself worrying, make a conscious effort to postpone worrying and continue with whatever you’re doing.
Use the time you’ve allocated for worrying to identify your worries and come up with workable solutions for them.
It may sound counterproductive to combat worrying with worrying, but it's really a lot like practicing mindfulness, except with focus on your troubles. By keeping worrying to just half an hour, you have time to rationalise your issues and put things into perspective so you can actually create practical, tangible resolutions for them.
So whenever you feel overwhelmed, burnt out or unable to cope, instead of reaching for another bag of chips or that bottle of beer, take some time to adult up and deal with your problems head on.
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